Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Publish your Writing!

So I've just had a reader response to my post suggesting a writing exercise. (Scroll down or click here to read the exercise.)

A reader has started to write a story in response to this exercise! I'm so excited!

Someone actually reads my blog.
Someone followed one of my writing suggestions!
Someone contacted me about it!

Okay, so it's all the same "someone," but you get the idea.

Which has inspired me to add a feature to my blog...

I will post a writing exercise once a week. Readers who write a piece in response can send it to me at, and if it's good, I will post it on my blog.

A few rules:
1) So-called obscene words and situation ARE allowed. I don't mind the occasional "fuck" (if you know what I mean) or sex scene at all. But if your story indicates a psychopathic obsession with killing, say, or it makes me think you need psychiatric help, I probably won't post it. That said, I think writing should move the reader. So if it moves me to feel horror or sadness or something, that's all good.

2) All genres accepted. That includes humor, sci-fi, fantasy, poetry (all types - limericks, haiku, sonnets, free form), horror, erotica, "literary" (whatever that means) and so on. I'll read more abstract or experimental stuff, but that's not something I usually enjoy and so the cards are stacked against you if that's your style.

3) Pieces can be anywhere from one sentence to 2,000 words. Now 2,000 words is long, especially for reading on the web. So I suggest you keep it a lot shorter than that. This rule may be revised as I see how many really long posts I want to add here.

4) There's no absolute deadline for sending me pieces based on writing exercises. Say you write a piece based on an exercise I posted two months ago - I'll still publish it if I like it.

5) Decision on what to publish here is up to me, Nina Berry, and only me. No payment of any kind to the writer can or will be made. But you'll be able to say you were published in a webzine. Dude, how cool is that? On your website you'll be able to link to your story here and show that an outside party thought it worthy.

True, that outside party is little old me. But, believe it or not, I have a lot of editing experience. I've edited five published books. I've been paid to read and analyze film and television scripts by Playboy and Warner Bros. I made it to the semi-finals of the Nicholl Fellowships and to the finals of the Disney TV Writing Fellowships. I wrote an episode of the synidicated TV show Ghost Stories. If I think your story is good, then it probably is.

6) Rules may be added, deleted, or amended at any time and at my whim. If I get overwhelmed by responses (ha!) that may happen.

7) Pieces may be proofread and spelling problems fixed before I publish them.

8) But please try to send clearly typed pieces, sent in the body (not an attachment) of your email that have been thoroughly proofed and spellchecked. Pieces with egregious spelling and grammar issues will tire me out and not get serious consideration.

I already have a great photo to base the next exercise on. Not all exercises will include photos, but I think they're a great way to get a story going in your brain. Now that I think on it, my first exercise, with three crazy photos to tie together, is a tad challenging. Not all exercises will be so nutty. But some just might!

Feel free to send pieces based on that first exercise. Another one will come your way next week!

9) If I publish your piece, I only need first time publication rights. After it appears here, do with it what you will. But no pieces that have been published elsewhere. The pieces are meant to be based on writing exercises presented here, not on stuff you did before. The idea is to get your imagination working and your writing juices flowing, and other metaphors that imply activity and imagination.

10) If I don't publish your piece within two weeks, figure that it won't get published. I may or may not be able to respond with a yes or no to all your emails. So if two weeks go by and it ain't up here, then figure it's a "no, thanks," and move on.

More rules as I think of them. Happy writing!

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